CELEBRATING NINE WOMEN CAMPAIGNERS FOR PEACE – NO. 9
To celebrate International Peace Day 2014, we are celebrating nine women campaigners for peace from around the world. These women have been recognised by Noble Peace Prizes, National awards and appointments to peace negotiating teams. There are also countless women who have pushed for peace in conflicts around the world whose efforts have not been recognised. We salute their instrumental, ongoing work for change.
9. MIRIAM CORONEL FERRER
Today we are profiling Miriam Coronel Ferrer from the Philippines.
Ferrer is currently the chief government negotiator for the Philippines in peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). She has been a member of the peace panel since 2010, but her appointment as chief negotiator in 2012 was a bold move by the Government and Ferrer.
Miriam said “I think this was the only time in my life that I felt gender was such a disadvantage – when my gender was, at the beginning, an obstacle to assuming the role as chair”. Feerer had the task of hammering out the notoriously complex four annexes of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro with the MILF panel, a framework that had been developed in a long and arduous processes since 1997.
However, these peace talks gained a major breakthrough to end nearly fifty years of fighting in the southern Philippines with the signing of the Annex on Normalization on 25 January 2014, which marked a new beginning. Feerer has led this process to the signing of the four annexes and continues to work with the MILF in the next stages of the peace agreement.
In Ferrer’s own words, peace “… requires a lot of patience. It requires persistence and certainly it’s very important that you have your eyes wide open, your feet on the ground and that you do a lot of exploration. A lot of creativity, both in substance and in language, to be able to sustain a process and to find alternatives. It involves a lot of understanding of the issues on hand and being well equipped to be able to really seriously analyse and to provide all the possible options that can be put on the table.”
“It’s difficult but there is always that desire to be able to see the fruition of this process so that we will be able to come closer to a society where everybody can coexist and peacefully compete with each other.”